A politician who underestimates the value of youths in his political voyage, has ‘lule’, in the political scenery in Nigeria.
No doubt, Nigerian democracy is undergoing a youth revolution. This is evident as an increasing number of our youths passionately engaging themselves in dialogues about the future of our country .
Youths are no longer content with being political party thugs, but they want to play active roles of voting or being voted for as active participants in the governance of our country .
Youths are no doubt, more energetic, as they pursue their political conviction without any iota of doubt.
According to ACE projects, for political systems to be representative, all parts of society must be included. When young people are disenfranchised or disengaged from political processes, a significant portion of the population has little or no voice or influence in decisions that affect group members’ lives. A key consequence is the undermining of political systems’ representativeness.
To make a difference in the longer term, it is essential that young people are engaged in formal political processes and have a say in formulating today’s and tomorrow’s politics. Inclusive political participation is not only a fundamental political and democratic right but also is crucial to building stable and peaceful societies and developing policies that respond to the specific needs of younger generations. For young people to be adequately represented in political institutions, processes, and decision-making, and in particular in elections, they must know their rights and be given the necessary knowledge and capacity to participate in a meaningful way at all levels.
When there are obstacles to participating in formal, institutionalized political processes, young people can rapidly feel disempowered. Many tend to believe that their voices are not going to be heard or that they will not be taken seriously even if they are heard. The problem becomes circular as politicians may lose interest in responding to the aspirations of young people if they cannot win their votes. This in turn leads to young people being increasingly excluded from taking part in decision-making, or in debates about key socio-economic and political issues, despite their sensitivity to the demands for social equity and justice, environmental protection and cultural diversity.
In new and emerging democracies, the inclusion of young people in formal political processes is important from the start. See Annex: A Spotlight on Countries in Transition. Young people’s active contributions can bring democratic values to life, leading to the overturning of authoritarian practices. In countries where young people have led protests that have forced authoritarian regimes from power, they are likely to feel significant frustration if they are not included in new formal decision-making procedures. This can destabilize democratization and accelerate conflict dynamics.
EMBs and other electoral stakeholders have a role to play in promoting young people’s participation in formal decision-making processes. For this role to be effective, it is necessary to understand the interconnected nature of the obstacles to participation in these processes that young people encounter.
To this end, it leaves political watchers with no surprise to see the inclusion of youths in the political scheming of the All Progressives Congress. The very youthful and energetic Dayo Israel, has been very instrumental to the inclusion of youths in the Presidential campaign of the APC.
Dayo Israel is no doubt stuck to his mission to raise and empower the next generation of Progressive. With his endorsement, he keeps spreading progressive ideologies among youths and engaging policy makers and politicians elected on the platform of APC to fulfil their promises to Young progressives and the Nigerian Youth at Large.
Unlike before, the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) authorised the party’s youth wing to set up zonal strategic lobby committees at the State and Ward levels, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
This commendable feat of the party’s leadership has received applause, for adopting part of the recommendations of the recent APC National Progressives Youth Conference which said that anyone vying for the position of youth leader in the party in the wards, must be between 18-35 years.
This formed part of guidelines for the conduct of the party’s Ward, Local Government and State congresses. No doubt, adopting the recommendation by the party’s leadership has rekindled the hopes of millions of progressive youths.
Until now, youths had been discouraged from participating in the party’s activities and holding elective leadership positions, especially at grassroots level.
This has strengthened the collaboration of the youth wing with all affiliated support groups through the establishment of a defined and all-inclusive structure strategically aligned with, and carefully integrated into, the plans and imperatives of the youth wing and the party, beginning with the mobilization and persuasion of young people to secure the victory of the APC in the 2023 General Elections.
In December, 2022, the All Progressives Congress National Youth Leader, Dayo Israel, announced the launch of the APC National Youth Wing Campaign Council.
The council will help in the implementation of strategies and tactics developed to give the APC total and youth-driven victory in the 2023 general election.
In a terse statement on Wednesday, Israel said the formation of the council followed due consultation with the national leadership of the APC and other critical stakeholders, including the zonal youth leaders, state youth leaders, among others.
He said, “Importantly, it is a fulfilment of my obligation as the APC National Youth Leader and the head of its youth wing.
Indeed, Article 14.22 of the party’s constitution clearly entrusts the mobilisation of the youth for the attainment of party objectives, including electoral victory, to the NYL.
“As would any responsible leader, I appreciate the precious importance of this obligation and I’m fully prepared to meet it as our party makes its case to Nigerians across the country in various elective positions including the presidency with Asiwaju as our prestigious standard bearer.
“The council will serve as the implementation committee of the APC National Youth Wing Masterplan which outlines strategies and tactics developed to give the party a total and youth-driven victory in 2023.
“The master plan received the endorsement of our leader and presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, back in August when it was submitted to him by the leadership of the Wing.
Recall that earlier in December, Dayo Israel, appointed senior advisors for the party’s youth wing ahead of the 2023 elections.
He explained that the new advisors have been carefully selected following their contributions to programmes of the ruling party youth wing.
Israel had always expressed his readiness to work with the new advisors in driving the party to victory.
It appears that the reality has dawned on Nigerian youths that since they constitute about sixty percent of the population of our country, they can be critical stakeholders and their views should matter in who becomes president of Nigeria, governor and other elective public offices.
At this juncture, it must be clear to all that, youths going into the political arena to actively participate in the game, is a plus, especially for the APC.
In fact, it has been a long anticipated game-changer, but a very welcome development.
Olamide Adeniji is a member of the editorial team of TheScript Newspaper